Cabecera-Visita Culture In The Philippines

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Historical Background In 1521, during the first attempt of spreading Catholicism in the Philippines by the Spaniards, the first mass was held in Limasawa and Magellan was only able to convert Humabon and his followers in Cebu. Catholicism later on flourished when Legaspi arrived in 1565 and made a policy called the cabecera system wherein scattered communities were regrouped into villages and a church was built at its center. Many Filipinos opposed this policy because the cabecera was located far from the fields where farmers earn for a living and they were conformed to celebrate religious ceremonies held there. Due to their resistance, the missionaries developed the cabecera-visita complex wherein they built a chapel in each small community or barrios. After many years, two alternative forms of Catholicism emerged. One was in a cabecera with a church at the center for socio-religious activities and the other was in a visita with an ermita or chapel at the center for socio-religious ceremonies. In the Cabecera, Filipinos based their beliefs on the doctrines of Catholicism since they learned it first hand from missionaries living in cabeceras as well while in the visitas, Filipinos based their beliefs more on symbolisms and rituals since they lack personal contact with missionaries (Jocano, 1967). Today, the practices and concepts of cabecera-visita system still exist. The two forms of Catholicism were later on developed into urban and rural which pertains to the cabecera

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